Over 5% of all Monero cryptocurrency in circulation has been mined using malware. Experts at Palo Alto Networks believe that Monero (XMR/USD) malicious miners make up about 5% of the world turnover of this cryptocurrency. According to the study, illegal mining enriched the attackers by almost $ 100 million.
Why it is important
- In 2018, hackers have already illegally earned about a billion dollars in the cryptocurrency market. More often, criminals hack into the user's computer and require payment in a cryptocurrency for the return of control or secretly use the computer power of users for mining. Traditionally, malicious miners prefer to earn Monero, which can be mined and used anonymously.
According to a study by Palo Alto Networks, 90% of mining malware samples are aimed specifically at mining the Monero, while only 8.5% are in bitcoin. Experts calculated that about 16 thousand XMR in the world were extracted through illegal mining.
It is difficult to calculate the exact profit, because malware can mine the cryptocurrency gradually, unnoticed by the user. The hidden effect of the program also means a moderate scale of profits for the hackers. Only 10% of wallets contain 100 XMR (on June 13 it is approximately $ 12 thousand) or more, and only 4% is accounted for more than 1000 XMR.
“Defeating cryptocurrency miners being delivered via malware proves to be a difficult task, as many malware authors will limit the CPU utilisation, or ensure that mining operations only take place during specific times of the day or when the user is inactive,” the representatives of Palo Alto comments.
At the same time, researchers noticed that half of the hackers can not engage in effective mining because of the poor quality of the software used.
According to a study by IBM Managed Security Services and other organizations, hacking for the purpose of mining has increased over the past year. Last year, visitors to Starbucks who were connected to the Wi-Fi network of the establishment were injured in Argentina, and in February 2018, it was revealed that Monero malicious miners were using Microsoft Word users.
It also became known that the Japanese police began investigating an alleged crime related to illegal cryptocurrency mining. Several sites have hosted Coinhive software, which mined Monero on visitors' computers. The police believe that the suspects in the case violated the law that prohibits the use of computer viruses.
Monero is an open-source cryptocurrency with a focus on private and censorship-resistant transactions. Unlike other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum, which have transparent blockchains, Monero uses cryptography to shield sending and receiving addresses, as well as transacted amounts.
By Ekaterina Ulyanova